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The Mystery Lights of Hansell Road

Between two cornfields near Buckingham, Bucks County, a gravel track called Hansell Road once led into the woods. For years, nighttime drivers would park there and switch off their headlights to see a strange set of lights off in the distance. One or two sets of lights would move around in the woods, sometimes red but more often green, and sometimes move onto the road.

Lights in the woods are nothing extraordinary. It’s easy enough to explain them away as flashlights, lightning bugs, or even will o’ the wisp or marsh gas. But the ones near Hansell Road didn’t act like

lanterns or flashlights. Several witnesses on several different occasions saw them move through the woods, sometimes swinging or dipping as if they were being carried, sometimes slithering more smoothly. When they reach the road, most accounts have them suddenly drop to the ground and form a ball, or rear up into a shape that then made its way swiftly towards the car. That behavior’s harder to explain away, especially hard because so few people hang around long enough to see what would happen next.

Some say that the Hansell lights are the ghosts of youths murdered by a cantankerous landowner who caught them trespassing. This story is also used to explain away a green mist that sometimes spread across the road followed by dark and mysterious shadows. It’s a good story to bring the fear in a carload of youths to a fever pitch while waiting for something to happen, but it seems to be no more than a story. Our researches failed to uncover any likely murder accounts in Bucks County’s records and newspaper archives.

Sadly, the march of progress seems to be closing the book on the Hansell Road lights. In the late 1990s, Buckingham Township widened and paved Hansell Road to accommodate new building developments. The woods have been thinned out, and in 2000, the township opened a park at its corner. If, as the stories go, the mystery lights only appear when everything is still and all the lights are out, they won’t appear often anymore. Although the park closes at dusk, there’s plenty of suburban traffic along the roadside on dark summer nights, and the houses nearby cast a glow over the road until the wee hours. Our recent trips out there have yielded few thrills—except for the police car making sure the Weird PA team hadn’t broken down. We can only hope that the lights won’t become another victim of suburban sprawl. They’re too weird and wonderful for the Commonwealth to lose. 

The Red Eyes of Hansell Road

I am well able to take care of myself and am not generally afraid of anything or anyone! Maybe sharks and God, but that's it! That all changed one dark September night.

I was working in Newtown, Bucks County, and had made friendships with some co-workers. We heard some of the younger employees talking about a road in nearby Buckingham called Hansell Road. You were supposed to go there and park along the road, which was long and dark and only had a few houses that sat far off the road, so that it was not

well traveled or lit at all. After you parked and waited for a while you would see green mists appear and cross the road, followed by a "darker" or "black shadowy" entity. These are said to be the spirits of some youths who were murdered by an evil landowner for trespassing on his property.

So one night in early September four friends and I took a ride to Hansell Road. It was very dark and cloudy, with no moon to be seen. The road ascended on a slight incline and had large cornfields on either side for about a quarter mile. Dark woods loomed ahead and grew the whole rest of the mile and a half of the road on either side. The trees were old and grew over the gravel road like a dark canopy. We parked the car on the grass shoulder on the right, about fifty feet from the tree line. We sat there on the car hood and waited for about twenty minutes before I got antsy and strolled up the road, entering where the woods started to loom over the road. What happened next I will never forget for as long as I live.

The rest of the gang (one guy and three ladies) were sitting or leaning on the front of the car. I was strolling up the road slowly and was about fifty feet from them in the wooded section of the road, when a red glowing orb began coming out of the woods from the left side of the road. It was small and bobbing slightly up and down and was about fifty feet ahead of me, so about a hundred feet more or less from them. It was bright enough that they could see it from the car. The girls started yelling, "What the hell is that?"  I shushed them and watched as it neared the road, as if it were going to cross the road from left to right.

Then when it exited the woods onto the road it became two red glowing orbs that floated about six feet from the ground. They bobbed until they stopped directly in front of me, then just stayed there stationary. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

The girls were yelling for me to come back and my buddy was asking what the hell it was. Now, bear this in mind; we were not drinking, smoking or doing any kind of drugs or taking medication. The sky was overcast and it was extremely dark under the tree-lined road. There were no lights at all, anywhere. So the deer-eye reflection theory doesn’t hold up and besides, I never saw an animal with bright red eyes.

I took two steps forward and the "eyes" started to move off the road into the woods then disappeared. I heard no foot or hoof on the gravel road or in the woods.

I swear this account is true and that it happened exactly as described.  –Jim Bechtel

Getting a Green Light on Hansell Road

I’ve never seen the Hansell Road lights myself, but a trusted friend of mine has. They parked up next to a field facing the woods, turned off the lights, and waited, telling each other scary stories. Then a green light made its way through the woods, smoothly, like a flashlight across the surface of water. It’s hard to imagine what could cause that slithering motion in a wood, but not as hard as figuring out what happened next. At the edge of the road, the light kind of stood up in the shape of a large cylinder about the size of a man and began to make its way up the road. What happened next nobody knows because the driver slammed the car into reverse and got out of there. I don’t think anybody in the car had any problem with his decision! –OctoberTree

You can read more accounts of encounters on Hansell Road and Pennsylvania’s many other Unexplained Phenomena in Weird Pennsylvania.

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